17 1If an ox or sheep has something wrong with it, do not offer it as a sacrifice to the Lord your God. He would hate that. 2A man or woman in one of the towns the Lord gave you might be found doing something evil and breaking the Agreement. 3That person may have served other gods and bowed down to them or to the sun or moon or stars of the sky, which I have commanded should not be done. 4If someone has told you about it, you must look into the matter carefully. If it is true that such a hateful thing has happened in Israel, 5take the man or woman who has done the evil thing to the city gates and throw stones at that person until he dies. 6There must be two or three witnesses that it is true before the person is put to death; if there is only one witness, the person should not be put to death. 7The witnesses must be the first to throw stones at the person, and then everyone else will follow. You must get rid of the evil among you. Courts of Law 8Some cases that come before you, such as murder, quarreling, or attack, may be too difficult to judge. Take these cases to the place the Lord your God will choose. 9Go to the priests who are Levites and to the judge who is on duty at that time. Ask them about the case, and they will decide. 10You must follow the decision they give you at the place the Lord your God will choose. Be careful to do everything they tell you. 11Follow the teachings they give you, and do whatever they decide, exactly as they tell you. 12The person who does not show respect for the judge or priest who is there serving the Lord your God must be put to death. You must get rid of that evil from Israel. 13Then everyone will hear about this and will be afraid, and they will not show disrespect anymore. Choosing a King 14When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, taking it as your own and living in it, you will say, “Let’s appoint a king over us like the nations all around us.” 15Be sure to appoint over you the king the Lord your God chooses. He must be one of your own people. Do not appoint as your king a foreigner who is not a fellow Israelite. 16The king must not have too many horses for himself, and he must not send people to Egypt to get more horses, because the Lord has told you, “Don’t return that way again.” 17The king must not have many wives, or his heart will be led away from God. He must not have too much silver and gold. 18When he becomes king, he should write a copy of the teachings on a scroll for himself, a copy taken from the priests and Levites. 19He should keep it with him all the time and read from it every day of his life. Then he will learn to respect the Lord his God, and he will obey all the teachings and commands. 20He should not think he is better than his fellow Israelites, and he must not stop obeying the law in any way so that he and his descendants may rule the kingdom for a long time.
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